What are you worth in the job marketplace?
Having a good idea of what you’re worth in the current job marketplace is really important for your job search. Especially when many job advertisements either don’t list a salary or use a salary range. It’s also important to know what you’re worth when negotiating a raise, or if your employer steps in with a counteroffer when you hand in your notice.
Here we explore how to find out what you’re actually worth so you can negotiate a salary offer confidently.
Before starting a job search take some time to research salaries for the position you want and your geographic area. This is crucial if you apply for any job where the employer might ask you what your salary expectations are, but also for comparing different opportunities so you know what a fair market rate is.
Make sure you factor in the location the job is based. Rates vary across the country with higher salaries generally in London and the South East. Similarly, if you’re looking at overseas jobs you’ll find differences between cities and different regions.
Salary surveys like our UK Structural Engineering Salary Guide 2019, are a good place to start.
Are you worth that much?
The next question to ask is whether you have the right skills, qualifications and personal attributes to command that rate. Be realistic. If you’re looking to progress your career and move into a more senior role you probably won’t have the experience to pitch at the top end of a salary range.
Can the employer afford you?
Another thing to consider is whether the employer can afford you. A small engineering design consultancy may offer fantastic opportunities to gain experience and work on some interesting projects, but might not be able to match a larger company on salary. There’s no point pushing for more – if they haven’t got the money they’ll either walk away or, if they do increase the salary, your position could be untenable long term.
However, there are often benefits for taking a job for less than the market rate, including getting exposure to different aspects of a project that you might not get with a big firm.
Factor in benefits
When weighing up the pros and cons of different job offers, don’t forget any benefits. These might not always be in the form of a benefits package. Instead, factors like reduced travel costs (if the employer is based near where you live) could make a difference to what you have in your pocket at the end of the day.
Tips for negotiating your salary
With all the above in mind you should be in a good place to negotiate your salary. Here are a few tips for success:
- If an employer requests your salary expectations, state what you want but make sure it’s clear that this figure is negotiable.
- Don’t be greedy. Be realistic and open discussions with a figure that won’t close down negotiations before they’ve started.
- Avoid comparisons with your current salary. If the interviewer attempts to justify a lower salary based on your current earnings, be diplomatic but point out any additional responsibilities and other factors that make you worth more.
- Benefit packages should be discussed separately to salaries, however it’s useful to know what’s on offer to help you decide whether the salary is enough.
- Don’t be pressurised to accept an offer at the interview. Instead make it clear that you’re interested in the role (if you are) and suggest a date for giving them a decision. This buys you time to properly evaluate the offer and potentially negotiate a higher salary if you feel that what’s on the table is too low.
If you need further advice about negotiating your salary for technical jobs in construction, engineering and technology, please get in touch.
You can also benchmark your current position using our UK Structural Engineering Salary Guide 2019